One of the great pleasures of heading to France, whether for a day trip, a short break or a longer holiday, is the opportunity to eat out in a French restaurant. So, while in terms of distance travelled it is but a hop from England, in gastronomic terms it is a whole new experience and usually much lighter on your pocket as well! There are a wealth of places to eat in the Pas de Calais ranging from small Fermes Auberges to Michelin rated restaurants.
Which restaurant? Below you will find a few we have enjoyed. Try to find a restaurant that is targeted at French diners (French menus are a good clue!).
Which time? Sunday lunch is always busy and it pays to book ahead. In the evenings, don’t arrive too early – 7.30PM is often the earliest you can get served.
Which menu? Don’t go for à la carte options. Usually they have the same options as the menu prix fixe and they cost a lot more! Avoid Menu Touristique like the plague!
Which wine? Wine can be quite expensive if you go for named bottles. But carafes of house white or red wine have usually been exquisitely selected by the restauranteur and are excellent value. Refer to our wine section for more advice on wines in France.
There is a splendid set of books on eating out in France, written by Richard Binns: http://www.richard-binns.co.uk/. French Leave Encore has travel advice with details of hotels and restaurant recommendations. French Leave Finesse contains purely restaurant recommendations.
Ambassade de Montmartre
2 allée du Jeu de Tamis, 60380 Gerberoy
This restaurant-salon de Thé, with interior walls bedecked with paintings, is situated at the foot of the old town walls, and is an informal place to dine for lunch or an evening meal or to have drinks/coffee/tea. In the summer you can sit outside on the terrace. Gerberoy is classed as one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France and is known as ‘The City of Roses’ on account of the mass of colour from the roses (rambling and climbing) throughout the town. The town really is pretty and totally unspoilt.
St Martin Les Boulogne, Boulogne
Located at St Martin Les Boulogne next to junction 31 etc. At junction 31 of the A16 near Boulogne (the St Omer exit). OK we’d be the first to admit that these steak houses are not very French, but they are incredibly popular with around 250 restaurants throughout the country. And to tell the truth, our kids love the place! One of the big benefits is that it is possible to get a reasonably quick meal here if you arrive early – ideal for those with a ferry or train to catch! There is also one in Calais which could be even more convenient: Route de Boulogne, Parc de Cocquelles, RN1, 62100. Tél: (0)3 21 96 40 70.
Hôtel du Centre
78 rue Carnot, 62930 Wimereux
The restaurant of this family owned town centre hotel (on the main street, with parking at the rear of the hotel) brings to mind a typical Parisian bistro, with its decor and ambience – long banquette seats and mirrors on the walls somehow add to the character. As befits a wonderful seaside resort the menu revolves around fish – all fresh and beautifully prepared. There is no children’s menu as such but they are offered smaller portions of the adult menu or whatever may be on offer that day in the kitchen – moules et frites (mussels and chips) went down a treat with our children. Set menus are €19-€26.
8 rue Caventou, 62500 Saint-Omer
This is a long established restaurant that has recently seen the arrival of a new chef and a very chic refurb. The food is first class and beautifully presented. We ate an evening meal here out of season – yet it was still busy, so booking ahead is essential. There are 4 menus, starting at €18*, a weekday special at €14* as well as ‘a la carte’. The restaurant is closed on Sunday evenings and all day Monday (except public holidays).
Location: In the centre of St Omer near to the main Church. Parking is available in public car-parks.
1 rue de la Gare, 62930 Wimereux
Location: At the southern end of Wimereux.on the D940.
This is a small restaurant with a chic dining room, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in style and quality of cooking. The cooking style is inventive but without an emphasis on fish which may be a welcome change for some in this coastal area where fish is so prominent. Leave some time to walk along the splendid sea-front which has been referred to as a slightly less grand Le Touquet. The promenade is reserved for pedestrians only and the beach is just wonderful for children. This is a lovely resort.
Advisable to book ahead especially in season or on busy weekends.
La Ferme Gourmande
Avenue de Verdun, 62340 Guines
Part of what was once an 18th century farm, with the large dining area having pictures and memorabilia of times past. The menus centre around a mixture of Flemish and Périgord cuisine using local produce wherever possible, such as Tarte au Maroilles (a local cheese tart). This is wholesome cooking with hearty fare rather than nouvelle cuisine, so arrive feeling hungry! There is a good choice on the menus, with something to suit all tastes, but don’t expect to be in and out within the hour! There is a children’s menu of the ham/steak haché and chips variety.
486 route de St-Omer, 62610 Ardres
A typical French hotel / restaurant, this was recommended to us by friends. The building is fairly unimpressive but don’t be put off, for inside can be found a traditional French restaurant. The menus reflect the cooking traditions and ‘terroir’ of the local area and are excellent value, starting from €14.50. There is even a vegetarian option.
Location: Just outside the centre of Ardres, parking available.
Restaurant Le Fournil
2 route de Saint-Omer, 62310 Coupelle-Vieille
A warm welcome awaits you at this modern looking, roadside building. It can be found at the junction of the D148 and D126 5 kms NW of Coupelle-Vieille. When we visited for Sunday lunch in February 2005, the restaurant was full of French families doing what the French enjoy most – eating and having quality family time! At lunchtimes during the week there is a very reasonably priced set menu. Otherwise there is a choice of set price menus, starting from €16, as well as a la carte and a separate childrens’ menu for €10. The food is inventive and uses local and seasonal produce wherever possible. We certainly would recommend this restaurant.
La Vallee de la Course, 62170 Inxent
Location: On the D127, 28kms SE of Boulogne.
The handsome old Auberge d’Inxent is situated at the southern end of the absolutely delightful Course Valley (runs from Desvres to Montreuil) – make sure you drive along it and perhaps make time to visit the chocolatier at Beussent. The Inn is a lovely peaceful place to partake of a spot of lunch after a mornings sightseeing, with an excellent menu served in a bright and airy dining room. If visiting on a day trip this is somewhere to experience La France Profonde – it seems a long way from all things British!
Restaurant Paul & Virginie
19 Rue du Général de Gaulle, 62930 Wimereux
A stylish family restaurant situated in the centre of Wimereux (off the main rue Carnot) where a leisurely meal can be enjoyed in comfort. There are three set menus as well as the à la carte for adults and while there is no set children’s menu they have a wide choice on their own à la carte menu of starter, main course and desert. Not surprisingly fish features strongly – in fact it is possible to have a special fish menu – La Gainée. However for those who might prefer something different there are several meat options.
22 rue Louis Martel, 62500 Saint-Omer
This small restaurant specializes in sea food – with a wonderful Plat de Fruits de Mer – although for non fish lovers there is plenty of variety on the various set menus. The service was friendly with a variety of options for children.
Location: In the centre of St.Omer (where there are plenty of public car-parks) on a road linking the main Church and main square (the Place Foch).
Le Restaurant du Cap
4 Place de la Marie, Cap Blanc-Nez, 62179 Escalles
A modern restaurant with several dining rooms, just south of Cap Blanc-Nez. There is a choice of menus to suit all budgets and tastes with good service provided by friendly staff. Fish predominates but on a recent visit the carnivores among us didn’t go hungry! Menus start at 25Euros and there is a “menu enfant” for children.
2-4 rue Pierre Guerlain, 80550 Le Crotoy
You cannot miss this hotel-restaurant, situated as it is on the sea front in the pretty seaside town of Le Crotoy, overlooking the Baie de Somme and the town of St. Valery on the far side. If you should chose to eat or stay here be aware that while navigating through the narrow streets of Le Crotoy is a bit tricky, you won’t get lost provided you keep in your sights the twin turrets and bold red façade of Les Tourelles – your destination.
For those staying, the hotel and its bedrooms have a simple, nautical themed elegance with low season prices for a double starting from €61*. If you choose to dine, sea-food naturally is fresh and superb, although there are also plenty of options for non fish eaters!! In the summer there is a glorious terrace for outdoor eating with superb views out across the bay. Otherwise the 2 dining rooms face the town, although coffee in the lounge in the winter months allows you to see the views in comfort from inside. Children have their own menu at €9* – Les Tourelles is particularly child friendly.
Since writing the above the hotel/restaurant has undergone a change of management and we have received some negative feedback about the service – please let us know your experience here.
* please note that all prices are for guide purposes only and are subject to change, please contact the provider for latest prices
Here’s more information to make the most of your visit to Nord Pas de Calais:
- Day Trips